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THE GROOBEES

The Groobees (Blix Street Records)
***

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT west Texas, that unlikely, dusty land of tumbleweeds and trailer parks, that has inspired lovely and lonely tunes: songwriters like Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock have made it a central part of the American musical landscape. Susan Gibson proves her place in this exalted company with the 10 tunes collected on this disc, tunes full of failed relationships, U-Hauls, cigarette coughs and tiny paychecks. One of them, Gibson's "Wide Open Spaces," gave the Dixie Chicks an early hit; Gibson and her four bandmates take it for a workout that does full justice to its melancholic, edge-of-defeat lyrics. A solid slice of alt-country, The Groobees makes a fine soundtrack for a drive down a sunblasted desert highway.

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